Bernstein: Unprepared Bears Offense Ruins Party

It wasn't supposed to seem like the Bears still need so much work.

Dan Bernstein
September 05, 2019 - 10:53 pm
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(670 The Score) So much for the 200 level of Matt Nagy's offensive curriculum. Summer school was nonexistent, apparently, and detention warranted. This looks worse, not better. Dumber instead of smarter.

Packers 10, Bears just 3. It wasn't supposed to seem like it still needs so much work.  

All that energy for the most anticipated opener to the most obviously promising season since the actual 1985 itself, and it dissipated painfully into a gorgeous late summer Chicago evening with every missed block, every holding penalty, every crumbling pocket and every bizarre play call from a second-year head coach fresh off of league-best accolades who arrived at Soldier Field dressed as George Halas, fedora and all.

Nagy might have carried the homage too far if he also imbibed from Papa Bear's whiskey-spiked Coca-Cola at halftime, and there was enough weirdness to keep that possibility in our minds.

Related: Haugh: Bears make suckers of us all

What's bigger than quibbling about the Cordarrelle Patterson dive play, the getting too cute on third-and-1 in the third quarter or deciding not to use the big-leg kicker from just 51 yards is the overall sloppiness of an offense expected to come out firing in new and more complicated, advanced ways.

Instead, it was beset by holding infractions and open receivers apparently invisible to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears took delay-of-game flags for not getting into their calls on time and at one point faced a comical first down and 40 yards to go, stepping on their own feet even as they tried to threaten a Packers team begging to be beaten. Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine put a hard lid on the pass coverage, and Nagy couldn't find a way to rip it off.

Nagy knows he can't waste this defense, one that keeps alive any hopes of a championship that remain after this deflating of a debut performance. That side of the ball is going to be fine.

But there was trust unquestionably burned away Thursday night, all kinds of capital vaporized by a lame and disconnected effort from an offense that got punched in the mouth.

We trusted that Nagy got more out of minicamps and practices and walk-throughs than what we were allowed to see in the silly and pointless exhibition games, all on board for what was cooking behind closed doors, ready to be set free to light up the scoreboard when it mattered.

Few regular-season games felt like they indeed mattered as much at this one, and his team looked uncoordinated and confused, a step slow and in need of more and better training at full speed. This was the second big game the Bears have played without tight end Trey Burton -- and the second one in which his absence seemed to matter far more than they admitted publicly. That needs to be fixed, one way or another.

And the offensive line has to tighten it all up, right now. Too few longer routes were trusted downfield and the sequencing of play calls was wrecked by backward movement and bad reads from both the fat guys and the fast guys.

The Bears have a superior defense.

They need an offense that is far, far better at football than this one, particularly for a coach who's in charge of that side of the ball, assured us last year was just the start and let us dream big dreams.

We're more awake than ever.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.